California Legislative Analyst’s Office Report on Governor Gavin Newsom’s Wildfire-Related Proposals

Here is a very long and detailed “California Legislative Analyst’s Office Report on Governor Gavin Newsom’s Wildfire-Related Proposals.”

One problem with the proposal, IMHO: federal funding. 57 percent (nearly 19 million acres) of California forestlands are managed by the US Forest Service and other federal agencies, but will they have funding for adequate treatments?


Various factors are contributing to the state facing growing risks of destructive wildfires, which could continue in the decades to come. Given the long‑term and complex nature of wildfire risks—as well as the challenges and costs associated with effectively addressing those risks—we find it is important for the state to develop a statewide strategic wildfire plan. The purpose of the plan would be to inform and guide state policymakers regarding the most effective strategies for responding to wildfires and mitigating wildfire risks. This could include guidance on future funding allocations to ensure the highest‑priority and most cost‑effective programs and activities receive funding and that the state achieves an optimal balance of funding for prevention and mitigation activities with demands to increase fire response capacity.

In addition, we find that in the absence of such a strategic wildfire plan, the Governor’s 2020‑21 budget proposals are difficult to evaluate and in some cases might not align with some of the key elements we think might be included in a strategic approach. Consequently, it is possible that under the Governor’s budget plan, the state could be committing to wildfire strategies that are not the most effective or efficient. Therefore, until the state has developed a strategic wildfire plan, we recommend that the Legislature consider limiting certain ongoing budget commitments that would be difficult to change in the future. In so doing, the state would better maintain budget flexibility to implement the most effective and efficient wildfire risk reduction strategies recommended by the strategic wildfire plan.

2 thoughts on “California Legislative Analyst’s Office Report on Governor Gavin Newsom’s Wildfire-Related Proposals”

  1. I thought these were interesting…
    “Provide Greater Specificity for Home Hardening Pilot Program—AB38 (OES and CalFire). We recommend that the Legislature take steps to ensure that OES and CalFire limit eligible grants to the most cost‑effective home hardening and community resiliency measures as required by AB 38. For example, the Legislature could consider approving budget trailer legislation placing a cap on the total grant amount per home or requiring the majority of the funds to be used for low‑cost retrofits, which we believe would likely be more cost‑effective than higher‑cost retrofits. In addition, similar to other recommendations we make, we recommend making certain components of the defensible space program limited term—specifically, the three training positions and two mobile equipment program positions—to align with actual workload. We also recommend rejecting the one additional training fire engine requested because CalFire has not demonstrated that it is needed or will be purchased in time for use as a training engine for the 21 new defensible space inspectors.”

    I like how these analysts asked what the information is to be used for.. collecting info is certainly easier than doing things..

    “LiDAR (CNRA). We find that the proposed use of LiDAR technology appears to have very promising applications for the state—including both related to wildfires, as well as other uses. However, the high cost and lack of important implementation details makes the proposal potentially premature. We recommend withholding action and requiring CNRA to provide a detailed implementation plan that (1) addresses programmatic changes necessary for departments to integrate LiDAR data into their operational decision‑making, (2) describes the uses and benefits of the data and how often it would need to be updated in order to continue the proposed uses, and (3) estimates future costs to support ongoing data collection. If CNRA is unable to provide a more detailed implementation plan, we recommend rejecting the proposal and directing CNRA to bring the proposal back in a year after the development of an implementation plan. To the extent that CNRA is able to provide some implementation details, such as regarding uses for forest health evaluation, the Legislature may wish to provide partial funding in order to pilot test the use of LiDAR data.”

    • In addition to — or in place of — grants to the most cost‑effective home hardening and community resiliency measures, how about significant tax write-offs for these projects?


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